Whilst most driving jobs have some sort of formal training there isn’t anything set out for those wanting to become a PCO licensed private hire driver. There is a set order of things you will need to do and the job basically relies on being a good driver and using your common sense.
This page outlines the requirements you need such as your medical and now we’ll go through the training you can do by yourself to ensure you not only get your licence but so that you can earn some good money from it too.
Route Finding / Topographical Skills
Although most people can rely on Sat Nav to get where they’re going you will need to show your topographical skills in order to get your licence and you will do this by undergoing an assessment at an accredited topographical testing centre. You’ll have to demonstrate your map reading, route selection, and general awareness of the roads and you can see the complete topographical skills specification list here which will give you a better idea of the exact questions you’ll get asked.
Quite a few of the centres offer a ‘guaranteed pass’ and can coach you through the course but having to retake the test could eat into your earning time, so why not start swotting now? Get yourself an AA Road Atlas and a London A-Z.
Not only do you have to pass a CRB/DBS check to ensure you haven’t got any convictions that would count against your first hand contact with the public but you should also ensure that you develop your people skills to get the most out of the job. Learning how to communicate effectively with your customers will make them happy, give you less hassle, and most importantly get you bigger fares and tips.
If you are friendly, chatty, and know how to work with customers then you will often get asked for personally in bookings and can also tie up regular work for airport transfers etc for those who don’t need a chauffeur but want someone they can trust and rely on.
So think of ways you can improve your people skills. This could be making conversations, or knowing when to shut-up, and will also involve being courteous and having good timekeeping. Also thnk of the character of your car too. Ensure it’s clean, doesn’t smell, and be aware of the level of the radio.
Lastly think about your driving stye. It will have been years since you passed your driving test and complacency can creep in which can un-nerve passengers so think about your speed, your concentration on the road, and don’t take those corners so fast!
You may think that you don’t have to worry about your fitness as you’ll be sitting down most of the day but not only do you have to pass your medical before you get licensed but you will also want to keep your fitness in a job that has irregular hours which can find you grabbing some fast food when you can and sometimes sleeping at hours if you’re working a late shift.
Start some exercise now which you can carry on once you’re working. That could be signing up for a five-a-side football team, joining the gym, or even starting to go out for walks. This will keep your fitness up and give you something to look forward to when your shift has finished. The worst thing you can do is sit down all day behind your steering wheel and then sit down in front of the TV once you’ve finished. You’ll feel much better having some eercise and releasing those endorphins!
Obviously driving is at the forefront of being a private hire driver but if you want job satisfaction then hopefully this article will help you out.